Showing Leadership On Reapportionment Presents Governor Strickland With Big Opportunity

In writing the article on gerrymandering, I was surprised to discover that, according to the Dispatch article written in May 2006, Republicans DeWine and Husted staked out the high ground on the issue of reapportionment.  The Dispatch, in the article I quoted, says that the Reform Ohio Now group supported the Republican proposal, but Democratic Assembly members refused to support it.

I’m wondering if in the intervening years, particularly after the election of Governor Strickland, Democrats ever tried to stake out a credible position, a high ground, about reapportionment?

Reapportionment is an issue that won’t go away, and, it seems to me, it is an issue Governor Strickland should get squarely in front of.  I think voters would reward Strickland if he would show positive leadership on this important issue.

Strickland should take a problem solving stand and show leadership in creating a plan by which reapportionment would strengthen our democracy.

By showing leadership on the issue of reapportionment, I believe, Strickland would gain a lot of political capital, a lot of widespread support.  Ohioans want their democracy to work.  It is failing miserably here in Montgomery County, and the reason it is failing is directly tied to how Ohio reapportions its legislative districts.

Governor Strickland has a big opportunity to show leadership and gain a lot of public support by taking a pro democracy stand concerning reapportionment.

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2 Responses to Showing Leadership On Reapportionment Presents Governor Strickland With Big Opportunity

  1. Stan Hirtle says:

    Districting, along with campaign finance, are the issues of democracy that won’t go away and need to be resolved, certainly before we start telling other countries what their democracies should look like. Allowing the winner of an election to draw the districts allows officials to choose voters instead of the other way around. Our state representatives districts here are all noncompetitive, while the US congressional districting where the Republicans carved up Dayton to stash some Democrats in the safe district of Boehner in order to create a safe district for Turner is a poster child for abusive gerrymandering. This tends toward the protection of incumbents, who even in “change” elections like 2006, tend to get reelected in overwhelming numbers.

    Various decent ideas come up to improve this but there is little public ownership of them. Most people are thinking about their mortgage payments and their job, not how the elected officials are drawing election boundaries to keep themselves in office. Certainly few candidates for the offices that sit on the these apportionment boards campaign on how they are going to draw the districts. It this era of computers and mapping, the political parties can accomplish their aims before anyone has figured it out.

    To get change there either has to be a ground up movement that enough people buy into that they vote it in, or else someone who thinks that their side is going to win the next time has to be willing to give that up in order to have a system that will in the long run increase the quality of democracy. People who think that way tend not to attain the highest and most powerful political positions.

    There are some procedural things that might help. One might be to have the commission rigged so there must be three people from each party, maybe the three highest ranking state officials from each party (if third parties ever gained a foothold here we could think of something for them.) And then perhaps they could recommend three options, and the voters pick one.

  2. Mike Bock says:

    Stan, you write, about reapportionment: To get change there either has to be a ground up movement that enough people buy into that they vote it in, or else someone who thinks that their side is going to win the next time has to be willing to give that up in order to have a system that will in the long run increase the quality of democracy.

    Polls show that 70% of Ohioans would support reapportionment change. My thought is that these Ohioans, who support reapportionment change, represent a political force that, if Strickland could cultivate, could be very helpful to Strickland. I’m hoping that Strickland will see that it is to his overall political advantage to show leadership on the issue of reapportionment. This is an issue he needs to address sooner, rather than later.

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